By: Rolando A. Mendoza
NAMRIA, as a member of the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat, participated in the Philippine Rise Commemoration event with activities held at Casiguran in Aurora, aboard the BRP Davao Del Sur, and at the Benham Bank on 15-16 May 2018. As requested by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), all Marine Scientific Research (MSR) agencies, which include NAMRIA, were encouraged to set up exhibits for the event, to highlight and inform the participants about the MSR initiatives and activities of the different national government agencies and research institutions in the Philippine Rise and other areas of the country.
Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives his message.
NAMRIA contingent led by NAMRIA Administrator, Usec. Peter N. Tiangco (at center), poses for group photo.
Aboard the BRP Davao Del Sur, NAMRIA set up for display a three-dimensional (3D) map and a nautical chart of the Philippine Rise, and the audio-visual presentation,“How the Shelf Was Won: The Story of the Philippine Rise.”
Image shows part of the 3D map of the Philippine Rise.
NAMRIA Administrator Tiangco discusses the Philippine Rise with one of the researchers.
The commemoration included the Send-off Ceremony for the Philippine Rise All-Filipino MSR Contingent, Buoy Casting, and Flag-Marker Laying. The ceremonial send-off is in line with the first anniversary of renaming the Benham Rise to Philippine Rise under Executive Order number 25, which was signed on 16 May 2017 by President President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat, NOLCOM Commander and Area Task Force North (ATF-North) Chairperson, welcomed the participants to the ceremony. This was followed by the Presentation of Maritime Scientists by National Security Advisor and National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea Chairman Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. Then there was the signing of Presidential Proclamation number 489 by President Duterte, declaring a portion of the Philippine Rise as a Marine Resources Reserve.
Government officials holding the Philippine Rise banner pose for a picture.
In his speech, President Duterte formally declared that parts of the Philippine Rise undersea features comprise a protected area to be known as the Philippine Rise Marine Resource Reserve (PRMRR). Within the PRMRR, around 50,000 hectares of the Philippine Rise shall become a Strict Protection Zone limited to scientific studies while the remaining area of more than 300,000 hectares shall be designated as a Special Fisheries Management Area. He enjoined the Filipino people to wish all the best to the scientists as they embarked on the mission to conduct mapping activities, surveys, biological investigations, and assessments of the coral reefs and fisheries stock in the area. He also told the Filipino scientists to “explore this new frontier fully aware of our responsibility to properly manage and conserve its natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Filipinos.”
Filipino marine scientists pose for a picture, wearing the colors of the Philippine flag and
in formation depicting the Benham Bank.
Divers from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources participated in the Buoy Casting and the Flag-Marker Laying at the Benham Bank.
Divers prepare to do buoy casting and flag-marker laying.
The NAMRIA contingent aboard the BRP Davao Del Sur with the President was headed by NAMRIA Administrator, Usec. Peter N. Tiangco and included Deputy Administrator Efren P. Carandang, Atty. Jessie M. Racimo, Philip G. Serazon, Ltjg. Stephanie M. Bautista, Rolando A. Mendoza, and Vener Quintin C. Taguba, Jr.
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